Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Retail Sales
Retail sales jumped up 1.0 percent in February following upwardly revised estimates for January’s sales figures—from 0.3 percent to 0.7 percent. Sales gains were relatively broad-based in February, led by autos sales (up 2.3 percent), miscellaneous store retailers (up 2.0 percent), and gasoline stations (up 1.4 percent). Only three of the 14 major categories of retail sales posted sales declines in February. Notably, sales at furniture and home furnishing stores fell 0.8 percent in February, and are down 4.0 percent over the past year. Recent gains in gasoline stations have likely been driven by price increases, as the series is up at an annualized rate of 26 percent over the past six months, perhaps adding an upward bias to overall sales recently. A less-noisy measure of the trend in retail sales—sales excluding autos, building supplies, and gas stations—rose 0.6 percent in February, following an upwardly revised 0.6 percent gain in January (up from 0.4 percent). Over the past three months, this “core” measure of retail sales is trending at an annualized rate of 4.5 percent, equaling its 12-month growth rate.